Posts Tagged ‘Multi-layered’

Mortal Groove

November 16, 2011

Author: Ellen Hart

Title: The Mortal Groove: A Jane Lawless Mystery

Genre: GLBT mystery stories; Mystery stories

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 358

Geographical Setting: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Time Period: Current

Series: Jane Lawless Mysteries, Book 15

Plot Summary:    Jane Lawless is a Minnesota restaurateur who maintains very close relationships with her friends and her family.  In this book of the series, Jane’s father is running for governor, and family secrets, as well as the secrets of those involved in his campaign threaten the campaign’s success, as well as the personal well-being of many of the characters.  Many of the characters in this book have secrets, the least of which is their sexuality.  Jane and her sidekick Cordelia investigate the people working with her father after the assault of one of their friends. This takes them back to a murder around the time of the Vietnam war. Jane’s investigation results in the kidnapping of her brother and she takes it upon herself to try to save him.  In the meantime, Cordelia is trying to regain custody of her niece, and Jane’s brother is trying to save his marriage by searching for his wives’ baby, given up for adoption at birth.  This multi-layered story offers resolution of most story lines at the end of the book, while creating new issues, perhaps to be resolved in the next book.

Subject Headings:  Candidates for public office; Cold cases (Criminal investigation); Fathers; Lawless, Jane; Lesbians; Murder investigation; Restaurateurs; Secrets; Thorn, Cordelia; Women detectives

Appeal: memorable, suspenseful, fast-paced, entertaining, multi-layered, secretive, witty, strong secondary characters, family-centered, thoughtful, bittersweet, elegant

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: well-developed characters, subtle, engaging

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature by Emma Donoghue

This book discusses the prescense and evolution of women in love in literature. This scholarly work delves into the portrayal of lesbians in classic  and contemporary literature as well as the prevalence of lesbians in crime fiction.

The Safe Sea of Women by Bonnie Zimmerman

This Lamanalysis of lesbian fiction and short stories between 1969-1989 discusses the portrayal of lesbians in fiction set against a historical background.  This book is for anyone who is unfamiliar with the genre (Amazon.com)

Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabel-Rouser by Rita Mae Brown

This conversational, engaging and witty autobiography of this mystery writer chronicles her  eccentric family as well as her love interests, and is written in a funny tone.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Report for Murder: A Lindsay Gordon Mysteryby Val McDermid

This is the first book in the series, featuring an amateur sleuth.  This character is the U.K.’s first lesbian detective (Amazon.com) and has a sidekick, also named Cordelia and a loyal following of friends and family.  While grittier than Mortal Groove, this book has its intricate plotting.

Lucky in the Corner by Carol Anshaw

This work of domestic fiction revolves around a mother and daughter, dealing with issues of the mother’s sexuality and the mother-daughter relationship. This book has strong secondary characters that are well-developed.  Even though, this book deals with social issues in more depth, it does so with wit and a sense of humor that is present in the Mortal Groove.

Blue Plate Special by Abagail Padgett

This book series, Blue McCarron mysteries, features the main character, Blue who is a social psychologist, who is hired by the police department to help solve a murder. This story follows Blue’s new relationship with her psychiatrist partner, Roxie, and includes a cast of funny, idiosyncratic characters (Novelist).  This also is a very suspenseful story with a series of red herrings, similar to the story in the Mortal Groove.

Name:Cheryl

The Traitor’s Emblem

October 5, 2011

Author: Juan Gomez-Jurado

Title: The Traitor’s Emblem

Genre: Suspense, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 321

Geographical Setting: Munich, Germany

Time Period: 1919-1940

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In 1940, a Spanish sea captain rescues German sailors during a dangerous storm. As a reward, one of the castaways gives the captain a mysterious gold and diamond emblem. The story of the emblem holds the truth behind the web of family secrets, betrayal and murder of one German man. Disgraced and impoverished Paul Reiner never knew his father. After his death 15-year old Paul and his mother are forced to live with her sister as help. Paul believes he died heroically in a shipwreck but a secret revealed from his cousin sends Paul on a quest through Nazi Germany and colonial South Africa to find the truth about his father’s death. The next 15 years of Paul’s life are dedicated to tracking down his father’s murderer. Gomez-Jurado weaves adventure and suspense with a star-crossed romance between Paul and Jewish, affluent Alys Tannenbaum who overcome immense obstacles to be togther including Paul’s cruel, vengeance-seeking cousin Jurgen.

Subject Headings: Nazi Germany, Family Relationships, Freemasonry, Family Secrets, Betrayal and Secrets

Appeal: action-oriented, character driven, complex, dialogue rich, fast paced, historical details, investigative, multi-layered, plot twists, short chapters, strong sense of place, well researched.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Action-Oriented, Investigative, Plot Twists

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Rise and fall of the Third
    Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
    by William L. Shirer

Fans of the The Traitor’s Emblem may enjoy reading the history of Nazi Germany,
beginning with Germany’s loss in World War I to Adolf Hitler’s rise. This non-fiction
read will provide readers the history and understanding of 1920’s Germany, its
politics and culture mentioned in the book.

2. Freemasonry: Symbols, secrets,
significance
by Kirk W. MacNulty

This fascinating read depicts the
mysteries behind the centuries-year old fraternal order, Freemasons. Readers who
want to learn more about Mason rituals, history and symbols described in The Traitor’s Emblem will enjoy this
title.

3. Stalin’s Children: Three
Generations of Love and Betrayal
by Matthews Owens

This title is an extraordinary
history and memoir of Michael Owen’s family in Russia beginning with his
grandfather’s execution in 1937. It follows the Owen family through three
generation as they struggle with war, hardships, sacrifices and a star-crossed
love affair between Owen’s parents.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Lost Symbol by
    Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol chronicles symbologist Robert Langdon
as he follows clues to a mysterious puzzle that will lead him to his missing
friend in Washington D.C. Langdon unlocks the mysterious to the Freemasons and
the capital through this fast-paced, action thriller.

2. Cold Vengeance by
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Special Agent Pendergast seeks vengeance
for his wife’s murder which takes him on a chase through Scotland, New York
City and Louisiana.  The more involved he
becomes, the deeper he is forced to dig into his wife’s past. The murder conspiracy
may be more complex than Pendergast may have imagined.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by
Alexandre Dumas

Innocent, Edmond Dante is betrayed
by friends and unjustly imprisoned for live. He escapes after 14 years seeking
revenge for the ones responsible for his imprisonment. Once escaped Dante finds
hidden treasures, described by a fellow inmate, and becomes a wealthy Count.
Dante creates an elaborate plan bringing down the men who stole 14- years from
his life.

Name: Noelle Swanson

 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

May 26, 2010

book

Author:  Steig Larsson

Title:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Genre: Adrenaline/ Mystery

Publication Date:  2008

Geographical Setting:  Stockholm/ Sweden

Time Period:  present day

Series:  first book of Millennium trilogy

Plot Summary:

Mikael Blomkivist was a respected journalist, as well as founder and publisher of Millennium magazine, who built a career exposing financial corruption. After losing a libel case against Wennerstrom, a crooked but well protected venture capitalist, Blomkivist anticipates a jail sentence, financial collapse and the sinking of his magazine. In a moment of uncharacteristic desperation, Blomkivist answers the call of Dirch Frode, a lawyer intently seeking the journalist’s services on behalf of his client. Henrik Vanger is the retired patriarch of the Vanger family- a long-standing name in Swedish finance. Vanger seeks Blomkivist assistance in investigating the cold-case disappearance of his niece Harriet that occurred 40 years earlier.

Little does Blomkivist know that before meeting Frode or accepting Vanger’s offer he was being watched. Lisbeth Salander, mysterious and meticulous sleuth who looks more like a punk rocker than professional investigator, had already compiled his full profile for Frode, a client of Milton Security. Promises that the Wennerstrom case and Vanger’s desire to employ Blomkivist are not to be believed.

Blomkivist and Salander become unlikely partners attempting to solve the mystery the Vanger family’s grisly, dysfunctional history. The pair finds themselves in dangerous territory as they unravel a tale of torture and serial killings against a backdrop of astonishing corruption.

Larsson’s book has won several awards including Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, Anthony Award for Best First Novel, British Book Award 2009 Crime Thriller of the Year, Library Journal Best Books 2008.

Subject Headings:  Mystery Thriller, Cold cases (Criminal investigation), Murder investigation, Journalists, Hackers, Violence against women, Swedish fictionTranslations into English, award winner/best seller

Appeal Terms: complex, multi-layered, strong characters, sexy, dark, corrupt, violent, fast paced, tense, financial thriller, dangerous, exciting, grisly, dramatic, award winning

Three terms that describe this book: multi-layered, sexy, financial thriller.

The next two books in the series are:

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Relevant Fiction Works:

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

When her six-year-old neighbor falls to his death, and no one is willing to suspect foul play, Smilla Qaavigaaq Jasperson finds her own investigation taking her into the files of a Danish company.

Similarities: Strong, unusual female protagonist, conspiracy reaching back to WWII, multi-layered story

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
A black female elevator inspector must prove that her method of inspection by intuition, as opposed to visual observation, is not at fault when an elevator in a new city building crashes.

Similarities: Strong female protagonist, negotiating career in jeopardy, intertwining multiple plotlines
Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

Twenty years after Jens disappeared without a trace from the island of Oland, a package is mailed to the boy’s grandfather that contains the worn and mended shoe of a child, prompting the grandfather to contact the child’s mother, resume the hunt for the boy, and make a shocking connection between Jens’s disappearance and the island’s most notorious murder case.

Similarities: Translated Swedish author, Father-daughter relationship

Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

The boys on the tracks: death, denial, and a mother’s crusade to bring her son’s killers to justice by Mara Leveritt

Linda Ives’s simple search for truth in the case of her son, who along with a friend was killed by being pushed in front of a train, reveals a frightening web of multiple murders, government corruption, and political scandal

Similarities: Cold case/ unsolved mystery, murder investigation

The house of Mondavi: the rise and fall of an American wine dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler

Traces four generations of a Napa Valley wine-making family, from the arrival of Italian immigrant Cesare Mondavi at Ellis Island in 1906, to the scandals that rocked the family throughout the twentieth century, to the battle over the family’s billion-dollar fortune.

Similarities: multi-generational family business scandals

The Madoff chronicles: inside the secret world of Bernie and Ruth by Brian Ross

Discusses the multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme masterminded by Bernard Madoff, including his motives for the financial betrayal and others who were involved in the scheme.

Similarities: White-collar crime, fraud and corruption investigation

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

May 27, 2009

 

 

Author: King, Stephen

Title: Gunslinger

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction/Western

Publication Date:  1982

Number of Pages:  315

Geographical Setting: All-World, a kind of dystopia similar to the Old West

Time Period: Undetermined future?

Series: The Dark Tower Series (Book 1 of 7)

Plot Summary: Roland Deschain is the last gunslinger in a parallel universe very similar to the Old West. He is on a quest to catch “the man in black,” the one who will lead him to the Dark Tower. Roland recounts, to a farmer, his visit to Tull, a town of people who didn’t trust him and Roland was forced to kill them all, including his love, Alice. Roland continues his journey in the desert and is helped at a station by a man named Jake. Roland finds out Jake’s past before he died in our universe. They travel together, and Roland rescues Jake from an oracle and then proceeds to bond with the oracle to find out more about the Dark Tower. Additionally, details about Roland’s past are revealed. Roland and Jake travel together, but Jake does not trust Roland. When Roland is faced with a decision to continue the pursuit of “the man in black” or let Jake die, Roland decides to pursue “the man in black,” letting Jake fall to his death. The action culminates when Roland and “the man and black” have a confrontation at “Golgotha” where “the man in black” tells Roland of his future, revealing snippets and events that will occur in subsequent books. Roland wakes up next to a pile of bones and a black cloak and continues his journey.

Subject Headings: Fantasy Fiction – American, Good and Evil – Fiction, Roland (Ficticious character – King), Adventure Stories

Appeal: Dark, Brooding, Suspenseful, Dystopic, Survival, Betrayal, Fast-paced, Multi-layered, Intricate setting, Horror, Bleak hero,  Tragic, Good versus Evil, Archetypal

3 Terms: Macabre, Survival, Betrayal

Relevant Fiction: Weaveworld by Clive Barker would be a good choice for fans of The Dark Tower, it combines adventure and fantasy with the same dark undertones used in The Gunslinger. Watchers by Dean Koontz also combines a suspenseful chase with supernatural elements. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, though intended for younger readers, would definitely satisfy a lover of The Gunslinger, with its supernatural, suspenseful, and horror themes.

Relevant Nonfiction: Tales of the Wild West by B. Byron Price is a collection of real stories of the old West.  The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen King’s Magnum Opus by Bev Vincent is companion material to the Dark Tower series explain its origins and development

Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance by Robin Furth is another companion material explaining the words, terms, and phrases used in the the Dark Tower series.

Name: Stephen Koebel